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“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a five year holding period for an investor who was considering Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE: COF) back in 2016, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 03/30/2016


End date: 03/29/2021
Start price/share: $69.15
End price/share: $126.49
Starting shares: 144.61
Ending shares: 157.84
Dividends reinvested/share: $7.40
Total return: 99.65%
Average annual return: 14.83%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $19,965.35

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 14.83%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $19,965.35 today (as of 03/29/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 99.65% (something to think about: how might COF shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Capital One Financial Corp paid investors a total of $7.40/share in dividends over the 5 holding period, marking a second component of the total return beyond share price change alone. Much like watering a tree, reinvesting dividends can help an investment to grow over time — for the above calculations we assume dividend reinvestment (and for this exercise the closing price on ex-date is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.6/share, we calculate that COF has a current yield of approximately 1.26%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.6 against the original $69.15/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.82%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“The stock market is the story of cycles and of the human behavior that is responsible for overreactions in both directions.” — Seth Klarman